Pregnant women here in Oregon and elsewhere could face any number of pregnancy-related complications at various points during their pregnancies that affect them and their unborn children. One that could threaten the life of an unborn child is hydrops fetalis. This condition occurs when a fetus or newborn suffers from severe swelling and an unusually high amount of fluid in at least two organs.
Most cases of hydrops, as it is called, are caused by non-immune conditions such as the following:
- Congenital infections
- Liver disease
- Severe anemias
- Chromosomal abnormalities
- Defects in the lungs or heart
If a doctor finds abnormal amounts of fluid in two or more organs through an ultrasound, which is most common, amniocentesis or fetal blood draws, this could be the problem. Additional tests will be conducted at this point to attempt to find the cause, which is vital to treatment.
In most cases, the earlier a condition is discovered, the better off the patient is, but that is not the case with hydrops. The earlier the condition is found, the more serious the case is. Sadly, the mortality rate for non-immune hydrops is anywhere between 60% and 90%. For this reason, aggressive treatment is required, and the baby is usually quite ill at birth.
A child born after suffering from hydrops fetalis in utero could suffer lifelong consequences of the condition. It is crucial that doctors properly diagnose the condition, determine the underlying cause and initiate the appropriate treatment to give the child the best chance at life. If this does not happen, then it could be due to medical malpractice. In order to determine whether legal action would be appropriate, an Alabama mother may want to discuss the situation with an experienced attorney.